Monday, May 10, 2010

Carbon Fiber Technology Center - Oak Ridge National Laboratory

In order for the full utilization of carbon fiber in automotive applications. (Which is necessary to lower weight.) The cost of raw carbon fiber needs to decrease. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is taking on this challenge using $34.7 million in DOE ARPA funding; they are establishing a Carbon Fiber Technology Center. According to their website:
The center will be capable of producing up to 80 tons per year of low-cost carbon fiber for evaluation and use by industry and government partners. Primary equipment will include a thermal (conventional) carbon fiber conversion line and a melt-spun precursor fiber production line. Space and utility provisions are planned to add an advanced technology conversion line.
The overall goal of this technology center is to lower the cost of carbon fiber 50%. This could be a major breakthrough not only to the automotive industry in gaining better fuel efficiency, but many other applications of carbon fiber where high-strength and lightweight is crucial.

Photo Credit: ORNL

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